Researchers were close to what they believed to be a cure for AIDS, but then results of their study took a dramatic turn. Two patients previously believed to be ‘cured’ of HIV after undergoing bone marrow transplants, experienced recurrences of HIV in their blood, according to the Boston Globe.
On Thursday, these findings were presented at an international conference of AIDS researchers. It shows the ability of HIV to hide within the body, according to lead scientist Dr. Timothy Henrich, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
The two patients involved in the study both underwent bone marrow transplants after other treatments failed to cure them of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Both patients agreed to stop taking antiretroviral medications after having the transplants, in order to see if the procedure had eliminated the HIV virus from their bodies.
One of the patients remained HIV-free for seven weeks, but the researchers soon found a recurrence of the virus, and the patient continued to take his medication. The other patient opted to keep going with the study, but after eight months the researchers again detected HIV and put the patient back on medication.
Researchers say the results of their study are disappointing, but feel their findings will help lend insight into future research on potential cures.
The CDC says, more than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 6 (15.8%) are unaware of their infection.
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